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29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

Refugees in search of peace in New Year: They flee war and hunger, are forced to leave homelands as they have no choice

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
A new year has just dawned! To the hoots of sirens and the blasts of trumpets, to firework displays and the singing of Auld Lang Syne the world bade goodbye to 2017 and welcomed yet another year. As one looked back the past year, there was certainly much to be thankful for. Our good God continued to rain down his blessings in abundance to all. Yes, tragedies and suffering continued to be the lot of many too.
Sadly many of the tragedies, which affected millions across the globe, though referred to as natural calamities, are in reality man-made caused by greed, over- consumption, wanton destruction of the eco-systems and over-exploitation of natural resources. Above all, war and violence continued to rule the roost; peace in 2017 remained as elusive as ever.
Come 2018 the world will continue to pursue peace. It will not be easy by any count. Despotic leaders, who seem to revel in war and violence, control a good part of the world today. They constantly search for the enemy very often far away from their own shores. The military-industrial complex has reaped rich profits (drenched in blood) in the recent past. Some economies thrive when wars continue elsewhere. Then there are those countries, which continuously display an arrogance doing what they want, aggravating violence and tension in other parts of the world, despite UN resolutions or the common understanding of most other countries.
It is therefore fitting that for the fifty-first time, the Catholic Church celebrates New Year Day as the World Day of Peace with a universal call for substantial action in the pursuit of peace. This year the message of Pope Francis is based on the theme Migrants and refugees: men and women in search of peace. Given the challenges that most migrants and refugees face today the message is not merely relevant, it is an urgent call to action. The message begins with the words, Peace to all people and to all nations on earth! Peace, which the angels proclaimed to the shepherds on Christmas night, is a profound aspiration for everyone, for each individual and all peoples, and especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence. Pope Francis making it very clear that his message is addressed to all, that peace is something we all long for and above all, there are people in this world like migrants and refugees who are deprived of it.
He goes on to say that migrants and refugees are also genuinely in search of peace. They flee war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands -- because they have no choice. They long for a more stable, safe and secure environment in which they can live peacefully, with dignity, equity and liberty. These are, as Pope Francis says, men and women, children, young and elderly people, who are searching for somewhere to live in peace. In order to find that peace, they are willing to risk their lives on a journey that is often long and perilous, to endure hardships and suffering, and to encounter fences and walls built to keep them far from their goal.
His message of peace is a call to embrace them in a spirit of compassion. He goes on to add, We know that it is not enough to open our hearts to the suffering of others. Much more remains to be done before our brothers and sisters can once again live peacefully in a safe home. Welcoming others requires concrete commitment, a network of assistance and goodwill, vigilant and sympathetic attention, the responsible management of new and complex situations that at times compound numerous existing problems, to say nothing of resources, which are always limited. By practising the virtue of prudence, government leaders should take practical measures to welcome, promote, protect, integrate and, within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good, to permit [them] to become part of a new society.
In the face of growing xenophobia, racism, jingoism and exclusiveness, Pope Francis highlights the fact that migrants and refugees contribute significantly to the societies, which accept them; besides when host communities transcend bigotry, there is mutual enrichment. When we turn that (contemplative) gaze to migrants and refugees, we discover that they do not arrive empty-handed. They bring their courage, skills, energy and aspirations, as well as the treasures of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations that receive them. We also come to see the creativity, tenacity and spirit of sacrifice of the countless individuals, families and communities around the world who open their doors and hearts to migrants and refugees, even where resources are scarce.
Pope Francis makes a fervent appeal to all to mainstream what he refers to as the Four mileposts for action: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate migrants and refugees. Offering asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and victims of human trafficking an opportunity to find the peace they seek requires a strategy combining four actions: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating. He goes on to provide explanations of how these mileposts for action can be realized practically.
Finally, in keeping with a commitment made by 193 nations in September 2016, he challenges world leaders to keep up to their promise. It is my heartfelt hope this spirit will guide the process that in the course of 2018 will lead the United Nations to draft and approve two Global Compacts, one for safe, orderly and regular migration and the other for refugees. As shared agreements at a global level, these compacts will provide a framework for policy proposals and practical measures. For this reason, they need to be inspired by compassion, foresight and courage, to take advantage of every opportunity to advance the peace-building process. Only in this way can the realism required of international politics avoid surrendering to cynicism and to the globalization of indifference.
Our common home has been very much in the vision of Pope Francis: the way we treat it, nurture it; the way we care for another very specially for the excluded like migrants and refugees. Every human years for peace and so do the migrants and refugees. As we enter a New Year, we all need to do our best to make peace more tangible. Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating the excluded: migrants, refugees and others forcibly displaced will surely lead to that peace we all pursue!
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*Indian human rights activist, currently based in Lebanon and engaged with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in the Middle East on advocacy and communications

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India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
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Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
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Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
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Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
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Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
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Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
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